A step-by-step guide for comparing and conducting a balance transfer with Commonwealth Bank.
High interest rates can make it feel like your monthly payments aren't making a dent in your credit card debt. With balance transfer offers from Commonwealth Bank, you have the opportunity to transfer debt from your existing non-CommBank card to a new card with a low introductory interest rate. This can help you save money on interest charges and pay down your debt faster.
Here, we look at how a balance transfer with CommBank works, the potential benefits and the key factors to consider so that you can decide if this option is right for you.
Balance transfers with Commonwealth Bank
Balance transfers usually involve moving a debt that’s collecting a high interest to a new account that offers a low or 0% introductory interest rate. At the end of the promotional period, any remaining debt accrues interest at the standard variable cash advance rate for that card. When managed well, a balance transfer can lead to significant savings in interest and faster debt repayment.
Commonwealth Bank allows you to transfer at least $500 and up to your approved credit limit from a non-Commonwealth Bank credit card or store card. While a 0% or low interest promotional rate offer may apply, you'll still need to make minimum repayments each month. If you want to pay the entire balance in full before the higher interest rate kicks in, make sure to pay more than this minimum each month.
What are the benefits of completing a balance transfer with the Commonwealth Bank?
Some of the benefits you could enjoy from a Commonwealth Bank balance transfer include:
- Save on interest charges. The major drawcard of a balance transfer with Commonwealth Bank is the savings you can get through the promotional balance transfer interest rate. If the card has a low balance transfer rate, you could save hundreds or thousands in interest when consolidating your debt during the promotional period.
- Pay off debt faster. Consolidating debts from several accounts with a CommBank balance transfer can help reduce the rates and fees that you're paying. Plus, if your CommBank card gives you access to a promotional interest rate, the savings you make can also help reduce your debt more quickly. Consolidating your debts under one account also makes it easier to manage and repay your balances under one account, rather than across several.
- It’s fast and easy. Whether you want to apply for a balance transfer in a branch or online, the process is relatively simple and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. If you apply online as a new customer, you can get a response in 60 seconds. Note that you will then have to wait to receive and activate your card before the balance transfer process can be completed.
Before going ahead, what else do I need to know?
You can use a number of Commonwealth Bank credit cards for balance transfers. Here are some questions you can ask to find the right one for you:
- How much can I transfer? Commonwealth Bank allows balance transfers from $500 up to your available credit limit. The amount you’re approved for will depend on your income and financial history. If you are approved for a balance transfer and the available credit on your CommBank card is not sufficient to cover the amount you wish to transfer, CommBank will transfer an amount up to your approved credit limit. You'll then need to pay off the remaining amount in your existing account and close the account if you don't wish to pay maintenance fees on the account.
- Is there a promotional offer? What’s the revert rate? Some Commonwealth Bank credit cards may offer a promotional balance transfer rate for new customers. This offer is usually much lower than the standard balance transfer rate and is in place for a limited amount of time, such as the first 5 months or first 12 months you have the card. At the end of the promotional period, the balance transfer rate will revert to the standard variable cash advance rate for your CommBank card.
- Where can I transfer my balance from? Balance transfers can be made from any bank or store-issued credit card as long as it's not with Commonwealth Bank.
- Are there any transfer fees? Commonwealth Bank won't charge you a balance transfer fee for the transaction.
- How long will it take? The processing time for Commbank balance transfer requests is between 5 and 10 working days.
How to apply for a Commonwealth Bank balance transfer
Applying for a Commonwealth Bank balance transfer isn’t difficult, but there are a few steps to the process. Start by comparing a range of cards so that you can find one that suits your needs. During this step, you’ll notice that most require you to meet a set of eligibility requirements. For a Commonwealth Bank credit card, you’ll need to meet the following eligibility requirements to apply:
- Age. You must be at least 18 years of age.
- Credit history. You must not be an undischarged bankrupt.
- Residency. You must have the right to work in Australia.
- Income. You’ll need a regular form of income to receive approval. Depending on the card, Commonwealth Bank might list a specific minimum income that you have to meet to apply.
Starting the application process
Existing Commonwealth Bank customers can apply for balance transfers credit cards via NetBank. If you’re not already with the bank, you can also apply online.
Once you do, you’ll be redirected to the secure online application. If you’ve prepared your documents beforehand, it should only take you 15 minutes to complete the application. There are four sections to complete and five steps, including your details, a review of your details, card options and documents check. Each section is estimated to take up to five minutes to complete.
Step 1: Your details
First, you’ll be required to provide some personal details. This will include information about you, your current living situation, your employment status and your expenses. Having the following information ready will help you along the way.
- Personal details. This includes your full name and date of birth. You'll also be required to provide details of your residency status and driver's licence number as part of your application.
- Contact details. Enter your email address, mobile number, home number and work number.
- Residential address. Provide details on whether you rent, own your home with or without a mortgage, or live at home with your parents.
- NetBank password. You'll be asked to create a NetBank password so that you can save your application and log in to NetBank to continue your application. You'll also need to confirm where you’d like your credit card and mail sent to.
- Additional cardholder. Choose whether or not you would like to add an additional cardholder to the account.
- Full-time student. If you're studying at a university or other educational institution, you'll be asked to provide details of your course.
- Employment details. Provide details regarding your employment including the name and address of your employer, the length of your employment and how much you earn per year. You’ll also be required to detail your employment type (your job title and the field you’re working in).
- Expenses. Enter your day-to-day and monthly outgoings such as your share of the rent, how many adults or children you financially support and also a list of your credit cards and loans.
- Balance transfer requests. Select whether you’d like to do a balance transfer, then provide details of the account or accounts you wish to move existing debt from.
Step 2: Review your answers
You’ll be asked to review the information you’ve entered to ensure there aren’t any errors before continuing. If you do come across errors, you can go back to correct it.
Step 3: Choose your card options and balance transfer
Next, you’ll be asked about your card options. You’ll be asked to confirm the maximum credit limit you’d like to apply for, whether you’d like to receive paperless statements or buy optional insurance. This is also where you’ll be asked to nominate the account you’d like to transfer from.
You’ll need to include:
- Your existing card number
- The credit card provider
- The amount you’d like to transfer
Note: Commonwealth Bank allows balance transfers of up to your available credit limit. How much you’re approved for will depend on your income and financial history.
Once you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, you can confirm the details and continue on to the next step.
Step 4: Documents check.
Make sure you have the following documents handy before you begin your application:
- ID documents (such as your driver’s licence, passport or birth certificate)
- Bank statements
- Two recent payslips
Once you’ve attached this information, you can submit the application. Commonwealth Bank will then review your application. If approved, it could take up to 10 business days for your card to arrive in the mail.
Note that it’s your responsibility to continue to make payments on your old accounts while the balance transfer is being processed. It's also up to you to close your old account if you don’t intend to use it and want to avoid the costs that come with its maintenance, such as annual fees.
Step 5: Start your savings path and chip away at your debt
Once you have your card, it’s time to start consolidating! If you haven’t already, create a budget that you can follow during the promotional period. Avoid using this card for purchases and always remember that your goal is to repay the entire balance before the introductory offer expires. Good luck!
Frequently asked questions
What happens if I am unable to pay off the balance transfer before the end of the five months?
Any unpaid balance at the end of the promotion period will be subject to the cash advance rate for your CommBank card.
How can I be sure that my payments are being directed to the balance transfer and not on my recent purchases?
According to Commonwealth Bank’s credit card conditions of use, payments are first applied to any interest or fees from an earlier statement period. After you pay those in full, the remainder of your payment balance will be applied to the balance transfer.
After the five-month period ends, could I transfer the balance to another bank credit card?
In theory, yes. You are able to transfer balances from one bank to another, subject to approval. However, keep in mind that multiple applications will lead to enquiries on your credit file that can negatively impact your credit rating.